Cupra Leon long-term test: report 2

The new Cupra Leon is a hoot to drive and one of our favourite hot hatches, but what’s it like to live with on a daily basis? We’re finding out...

Cupra Leon

The car Cupra Leon 2.0 TSI 300 DSG VZ2 Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To find out if this ultra-sporty Cupra Leon can cut it against some seriously good hot-hatch competition

Needs to Prove it’s more than just a pretty face. It must be both tremendous fun to drive and able to cope with all the usual work and family duties 

Mileage 2221 Price £35,575 Target price £35,229 Price as tested £36,155 Official economy 37.2mpg Test economy 36.9mpg 

22 October 2021 –  The Cupra cuts a dash down in Cornwall  

A recent family holiday gave my Cupra Leon it’s first big test – could it take all of us and our luggage? After all, there’s not much point in having the smartest hot hatch on the block, wearing the flashiest badging to boot, if you have to leave one of your children at home when you go away.

Luckily, the Leon has plenty of room for four inside and just, just, enough space for everything they require for a week away. I should add the caveat here that teenage daughters don’t pack light, so it was perhaps no surprise that the interior was littered with the extra bags we couldn’t fit in the boot.

Cupra Leon LT

The first leg of the journey was a 135-mile hop down the A303 to deepest, darkest Somerset. Considering the amount of traffic that always accumulates around Stonehenge, I was pleased with the 35.5mpg readout on the digital dashboard at the end of that trip. Meanwhile, a 151-mile schlep down to Cornwall that initially included some faster motorway work upped that figure even further to an impressive 36.9mpg – not far off the official 37.2mpg average. 

However, there is more to my Cupra than mere fuel-sipping. We took in Devon, too, and on those tight and twisty (and frequently wet) roads it was delightful: plenty of power when needed, strong brakes, quick steering and an abundance of grip. Perhaps most impressive of all was the ride, which was never uncomfortable, even on the bumpiest of country lanes. Considering how heavily we were loaded up, it was an excellent all-round performance.

Cupra Leon LT

The doorman outside the hotel thought the car was pretty impressive, too. He correctly identified it as a Cupra and then told me he’d seen them on the internet – on, presumably! His enthusiasm for my car was matched only by mine for his hotel, and that enthusiasm of his prospered in a hotel car park in which he was surrounded by larger and far more expensive motors. That’s a pretty good result for a fledgling brand like Cupra, I’d say.

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